Friday, September 2, 2016

Interview with Brandi Megan Granett, Author of Triple Love Score + Giveaway (US only)

I'd like to welcome Brandi Megan Granett to the blog today to celebrate the exciting release of Triple Love Score from Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing!

Welcome to Books à la Mode, Brandi! Let's get this interview started.

Will you please share a brief introduction with us?

I am filled with a passionate desire to share one key idea with the world. This idea is that thoughts are things. The very stuff we fill our minds with spills out and fills our worlds. By learning what we are thinking and where those thoughts come from, we can change our experiences within the world.

One way to make this happen is to study and revise the stories we tell ourselves. Just as we can examine a story or film and suss out the meaning behind it, we can do the same for our internal stories. Once we have experience something, it lives on in us, influencing us, and how we perceive the world as a form of a story. We can stop being just characters in those stories and become their authors.

To do this, we apply the same tools I have used in the teaching of creative writing for the last sixteen years. My Ph.D. in Creative Writing is from Aberystwyth University in Wales. I hold an MFA in Fiction from Sarah Lawrence College, an M.Ed in Adult and Distance Education from Penn State.

It's amazing to get to feature you today! Readers, here's a bit about the book, which hits shelves today:

Triple Love Score is about a poetry professor who stumbles into fame as an anonymous online Scrabble poet.

So, what happens when you stop playing games?

When playing-by-the-rules poet Miranda Shane throws out convention and begins to use a Scrabble board instead of paper, she sets off a chain of events that rattles her carefully planned world. Her awakening propels her to take risks and seize those chances she previously let slip by, including a game-changing offer from the man who got away. When the revelation of an affair with a graduate student threatens the new life Miranda created, she is forced to decide between love and poetry.

Describe Triple Love Score in six words (or less!).

What happens when you stop playing games? Shoot—that is seven! How about Choices, Romance, Sex, Responsibility, Fame.

How did you arrive at writing romance?

The short answer to why romance is because I fell in love with my best friend of 19 years after a rough marriage and divorce. After going through such a tumultuous shift in my life, I needed my writing to be fun again. What’s more fun than writing about people falling in love and getting internet famous?

What was your inspiration for the book?

I would send chapters to my then boyfriend, now husband, each day. What kept me writing each day was eliciting emotions from him from the NSFW chapters to the ones that made him tear up in the middle of a meeting.

As a huge fan of first lines, I'd love to hear the first line of Triple Love Score. Can you give us a brief commentary on it?
Even at twelve years old, Miranda knew better than to dissuade her mother from orchestrating her own funeral.
This line sets the tone for an emotional event that influenced the tenor of Miranda’s life. She learned, sadly, at an early age not to trust the world. Triple Love Score explores what it takes to break through this early and tragic education.

Tell us about your road to publication.

The best thing I picked up along the way on the journey to publication is the group Tall Poppy Writers. I met the founder, Ann Garvin, at a pitch conference. While I didn’t land an agent through that conference, I landed a great group of women fiction writers that keep me motivated to write each day. Tall Poppy Writers work together to support each other throughout the publication and promotion process. It is the best surprise in this whole journey.

Are the characters from your book based off anyone you know in real life? How much else of your actual life gets written into your fiction?

Miranda’s experiences as the Blocked Poet and seducing a student are purely her own. I related with the choices she faces between trusting someone from her past or making her way on her own terms. When I started Triple Love Score, I found myself falling in love after a long and tough marriage ended. Like Miranda, I needed to figure out what I wanted for my life and whom I wanted in it.

Which character from Triple Love Score was most difficult to write?

Scott was the most difficult character for me to write. I needed him to be more willing but unavailable at times. I found this to be a delicate balance to strike as I wanted Miranda to have a true partner, but art does imitate life, and rarely does a true romance go off without a hitch or two.

Name the top five novels that have made the biggest impact on your life or on your writing.

Feast of Love by Charles Baxter
The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx
Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver
Are You There, God? It’s Me Margaret by Judy Blume
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
And anything by Raymond Carver, Joyce Carol Oates, and Margaret Atwood.

What’s the greatest thing you ever learned?

Thoughts are things. My archery coach taught me this. It shows how each moment how we react to things shapes what they become for us. Just as an author can revise a story, a person can take steps to revise their life.

How do you react to a negative or harsh review to your books?

I teach a lot of creative writing, so I am often the one to provide the pep talk about not being afraid of people’s reactions to your work. I remind students (any myself) that there can be thousands of books in a store or library and never in a million years would I read and enjoy all of them. Not every book is for every person.

Blog babes, click "Read more" to find out Brandi's random favorites, how she deals with negative reviews, and what makes Triple Love Score stand out as a book from all the rest. We're also hosting a giveaway for a finished copy of Triple Love Score, so you don't want to miss that either!

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Some randomness...

Favorite kind of chocolate? Dark, milk, white, coffee-flavored, the kind with nuts or berries inside?? I love dark chocolate, but I recently had some Italian rose flavored white chocolate that is worth hiding from the rest of your family lest they eat it all. Not that I did that or anything. Well, maybe I did.

What kind of kid were you in high school? Weird. Straight-up weird. Mascara. Red lipstick. Short black spandex mini skirts. AP classes. Like an Avril Lavigne nerd.

Most romantic thing a guy has ever said or done to you? When I first confessed my feelings to my now husband, he told me he didn’t want to risk our friendship to make it something more. Then he went home and thought about it. In the morning, I received the best email ever laying out the case for how our story could possibly change. He wrote, “I love the heroine and I love the story.” And if I wasn’t already falling in love, in that moment I tumbled headfirst.

How do you get over heartbreak? I hesitate to say this, but hey, the best way to get over someone is to get under someone else. I kid, but I didn’t write a romance novel for nothing.
Currently reading?  Rose, Petal, Thorn by Ella Joy Olsen.

Currently wearing?  Cargo pants—we went to a Hillary Clinton rally today, and I didn’t want to bring a purse, so I needed pockets for my cell phone.

Most visited websites?  I probably spend the most time on Facebook. A lot of people decry Facebook for wasting time, but last month I got to see pictures of one of my friends from high school finally going to see The Cure, and my heart leapt for her. When we were kids, her parents forbid all things The Cure—to see someone I grew up still getting to be themselves is amazing to me. And I love Corgi pictures. Lots of Corgi pictures.

Favorite vegetable? (yes, you have to pick one). Right now, I would have to say Brussels sprouts. Though it is getting to be tomato season in NJ, and the CSA (community supported agriculture) we belong to grows the most amazing cherry and grape tomatoes!

Biggest celebrity crush? Peyton Manning.

Guiltiest pleasure? A glass of Prosecco in the afternoon or buying lots of arrows for archery. I like to have way more than I need!

What did you want to grow up to be when you were little? An astronaut.

Go-to comfort food? Macaroni & cheese and fried chicken.

Charity or cause of choice? I donate each month to Habitat for Humanity.

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Out of all the fantastic books out there, what makes Triple Love Score stand out from the rest?

I think Triple Love Score gives an honest look at a woman’s life with some really good sex scenes thrown in for good measure.

My kind of book! Give aspiring writers a piece of advice you wish you had known before getting published.

Have something started before you sell a novel. Always keep something in the pipeline to keep waiting and discouragement from getting in your way.

Now give us your best personal advice—something you wish you had known when you were younger and would offer to your own kids.

The moment of power is now. At any given moment, you can take steps to do something differently or make new choices and change your life.

What are you involved in when you aren’t writing?

The number one thing I enjoy when not writing is archery. I started about nine years ago when my daughter wanted to either be in a Renaissance faire or the Olympics. Our local archery shop talked me into taking lessons with her, and I was hooked. I traveled the Olympic recurve circuit for a number of years and represented the USA in the 2010 World Field Archery Championships. Recently, an injury gave me the opportunity to switch to compound archery, so I am enjoying learning a whole new ballgame in my archery career.

What would you say are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer?

Thick skin and honest writer friends. Having the Tall Poppy sisters reveal details about their publishing journeys really helps me to keep my own journey in perspective and feel less alone.

Are there any occupational hazards to being a writer?

YES! You need to stretch and walk. Sitting all day is destructive for your health.

What's the most interesting comment you've received about your writing?

This author deserves to be on a shelf. Seeing that made my heart sing!

What is the message in Triple Love Score that you want readers to grasp?

That it’s okay to go after what you really want.

What are your goals as a writer?

This is a great question. I am going to honest and tell you that right now, I am not too sure. I want to finish Straight Shooter, the next novel I am working on, but beyond that, I am not sure what I hope happens next.

What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?

Last January, I got to spend a week in Key West at the Key West Writing Seminar. Being there in that beautiful place, studying writing all morning, and then working on the revisions of Triple Love Score in the afternoon was a dream come true!

What’s next for you?

I am finishing Straight Shooter, my next novel, and working on being ranked again for USA Archery. I’d love to make the USA Archery Team and compete in a World Cup.

That sounds exciting, and a lot of hard work! I can't wait for the next book! Where can you be found on the web?

Before we conclude this interview, is there anything you'd like to ask our readers?

When I wrote Triple Love Score, I struggled a bit with the sex scenes. I am very curious how much detail or much steam readers like or don’t like in the books they read. So, I would love to ask readers what their heat level is for the intimacy side of romance books?

It was a pleasure to be able to get to know you better today, Brandi! Thank you again for dropping by, and best of luck with future endeavors!


Books à la Mode is giving away one print copy of Triple Love Score—woohoo! To enter, all you have to do is answer Brandi's question in the comments below:
What is your preferred heat level for intimate scenes in romance books? Do you like lots of detail, or not that much?
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Brandi and I really want to hear your thoughts! :)

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the author via publicist—a huge thank you to the lovely Brandi Megan Granett and Suzy Missirlian PR!
Giveaway ends September 16th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US residents only. Sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar on the right for a list of currently running giveaways that are open worldwide—there are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ❤
Good luck!